For Callie, haircuts have always been a challenge. Whether it was the sound of the clippers or the vibrating feel going across his head, a haircut was not a pleasant experience for either party — the giver or the receiver. I dreaded when it was time for him to get a haircut. I wondered if it was worth the pain, exhaustion & embarrassment that we had to endure every time. Sometimes I pondered if Callie would be the one to bring afros back or maybe he would introduce an unique style because there were days the haircut was incomplete. But each time, we braced ourselves for the inevitable. The piercing cries. The constant moving back & forth, side to side. The long pauses and some to no return — the day ended & we had to try again later. Impatience ran high and discomfort & a sad face were immediately shown, at times before the task at hand had even begun. Nothing seemed to mellow the tension between frustration & just being down right tired. Music was brought in. Not hearing it. Juice with smiles came to redirect his focus. Not thirsty. Not working. Promises of a surprise of some sort were my bribes hoping to reach beyond his irritation. Thinking the dollar store and the park would be satisfactory, and probably any other time he would jump at the opportunity but during these moments, it was like I hadn’t offered anything at all. The above did not have any significance. The only calmness of the sea would be “no haircut” — that was his response every time we faced this undertaking. . . .that or just flat out “NO!” So with no guarantees of better in sight, we learned that we had to ride it out with heavy hearts and tears on both parts.
What we hadn’t realized until much later is how this all affected his sensory. It didn’t occur to us that his cries of distress were not cries of rebellion against something he needed. His cries were ones trying to convey how miserable this sensation was going around his head. His limited language prevented him from explanation and even vocalizing something as simple as “That hurts.” All that was spoken, if anything at all at times, was “No Haircut!”. . .and unfortunately and with much heartbreak, that didn’t translate very well.
Callie continued to get haircuts. New clippers were presented. Softer sound. Still, “no haircut” was heard but not as loud. Not as frequent. The moving back & forth and side to side yet in existence but not as forceful. Not as often. Cries heard down the street were now only heard in our hearing. We were learning him. He was learning to adapt. We both were getting better.
Today my son gets a haircut and his lips part merely to script lines from a cartoon and his posture is as unwavering as a tree. The cuts are smoother and the goal of finishing is successful. I observe from a distance, standing proud of both of our growths and feeling overwhelmed that “no haircut” has fallen to silence. . .and the sea is altogether calm.